What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Like millions of Americans, you work in front of a computer for eight hours a day and fill much of your free time playing games or watching media content on your phone or tablet. After a while, you notice your eyes don’t focus as easily, you have frequent headaches, your eyes are dry and tired, and you have neck or shoulder pain. If you notice any of these problems, you may be suffering from computer vision syndrome.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eyestrain, is a broad term for different vision problems caused by prolonged use of digital devices such as computers, cell phones, tablets and e-readers. The amount of eye discomfort increases the more you look at digital screens.

There are other risk factors associated with developing computer vision syndrome besides prolonged digital screen use. If you have undiagnosed vision issues such as astigmatism, farsightedness, focusing problems or reduced eye coordination, you could be at greater risk of developing the condition. Age is also a significant risk factor.

Factors Contributing to Computer Vision Syndrome

Conditions in your home and office may also play a role in developing computer vision syndrome. These include inadequate lighting, screen glare, viewing your device from the wrong distance and poor posture.

Computer vision syndrome is diagnosed more than ever due to the amount of time spent looking at digital screens. Unlike the printed page, letters and images on a digital screen are not as sharp and the contrast between the image and background is slightly blurred. Screen glare and light reflection add to the problem.

Additionally, the distance and angle you sit from a computer screen is usually not ideal for reading, which makes your eyes work harder. Constantly looking down at source material and back up to the computer can lead to neck and shoulder pain and focusing problems.

What You Can Do to Prevent and Treat Compute Vision Syndrome?

Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for a thorough eye examination. Identifying and correcting even minor eye conditions can put you on the path to significantly reducing eyestrain and other symptoms of CVS. Your eye doctor may prescribe special corrective lenses to wear while using the computer, advise you on proper viewing habits, and test your eyes’ ability to adequately focus and work in unison.

In most cases, eyestrain and other symptoms of CVS will correct themselves when you stop or reduce the amount of time spent in front of a digital device. Although you can easily reduce your exposure to digital screens in your spare time, it’s not as easy if your job includes using a computer all day. Try the following steps to reduce your chances of suffering from computer vision syndrome:

  • Adjust the lighting. Make sure overhead lights aren’t producing a glare on your computer screen. Use blinds or drapes to reduce glare or replace high wattage overhead bulbs with those of a lower wattage.
  • Properly locate your computer screen. Studies find the most comfortable way to look at a computer screen is from a downward angle. Ideally, you want to be at least 20 to 28 inches away from the screen and it should be about four or five inches below eye level (15 to 20 degrees) as measured from the center of the screen.
  • Take frequent rest breaks. Aim to take a 15-minute rest break after two hours of computer use. After 20 minutes of continuous computer usage, look away from the screen for 20 seconds (look at a distant object) to help the eyes refocus.
  • Buy our Foster Grant eReader Computer Glasses. Our patented eReader technology is proven to help reduce blue light and reduce eye strain and is specially designed for use with tablets, desktop computers, and mobile devices.

View our selection of Foster Grant eReader Computer Readers.

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